Previously filmed in 1929, Philip MacDonald's novel Patrol was lensed by director John Ford as The Lost Patrol in 1934. Sergeant Victor McLaglen is in charge of a World War I-era British cavalry regiment, stranded somewhere in the Mesopotamian desert. McLaglen hasn't asked for the responsibility: the commanding officer has been killed by an Arab sniper, leaving McLaglen to take over. One by one, McLaglen's men are picked off as they desperately fend off the enemy, waiting for reinforcements to arrive. The most spectacular death scene goes to Boris Karloff, playing a religious zealot who goes insane and begins marching towards the Arabs while bearing a makeshift cross. Max Steiner's relentless musical theme for The Lost Patrol would later be adapted into his score for Warner Bros' Casablanca. Lost Patrol would itself be adapted as the 1939 western Bad Lands. Originally running 74 minutes, Lost Patrol is now generally available only in its 69-minute reissue form.
by Hal Erickson synopsis